Meister Eckhart was a thirteenth-fourteenth century philosopher, theologian, and mystic who lived and worked in the Dominican Order.

In later life, he was accused of heresy and brought up before the local Franciscan-led Inquisition, and tried as a heretic by Pope John XXII. He seems to have died before his verdict was received.

What is the status now? Was he ever officially condemned by the Roman Catholic Church or are his teachings recommended like the teachings of St. Thomas Aquinas or other saints?

1 Answer 1


John Hardon, S.J.'s Catholic Dictionary says this in the entry for "Eckhart":

General name for the spiritual teaching of Meister Eckhart (1260-1327), the German Dominican mystic and of his followers. In 1329, Pope John XXII condemned twenty-eight of Eckhart's sentences as heretical or dangerous, e.g.: "We are totally transformed into God and changed into Him . . . Though a person commits a thousand mortal sins, if he is rightly disposed, he should not wish not to have committed them … A good man is the only begotten Son of God." Investigation of his doctrine has since indicated Eckhart's personal orthodoxy, while admitting indiscretion in language and the fact that his writings have been used by persons unfavorable to the Church, as Kant to defend agnostic idealism, Hegel to defend pantheism, and Rosenberg to defend Nazism.

See also the entry on him in the old Catholic Encyclopedia.

Eckhart's propositions that Pope John XXII condemned are:
(source: Denzinger's Sources of Catholic Dogma #501-529)

Errors of Eckhart (The Son of God, etc.) *

[Examined and condemned in the edict In agro dominico, Mar. 27, 1329]

Condemned as heretical:

  1. (1) And when asked why God did not create the world first, he answered that God was not able to create the world first, * because He cannot make things before He is; therefore, as soon as God was, He immediately created the world.

  2. (2) Likewise it can be granted that the world existed from eternity.

  3. (3) Likewise at the same time and once, when God was, when He begot the Son coeternal with Himself, through all things coequal God, He also created the world.

  4. (4) Likewise in every work, even evil, evil I say, as of punishment and of sin, the glory of God is manifested and reflects equally.

  5. (5) Likewise he who blames anyone, in the blame itself by the sin of blaming praises God, and the more he blames and the more gravely he sins, the more he praises God.

  6. (6) Likewise anyone by blaspheming God Himself, praises God.

  7. (7) Also he seeking anything here or there seeks evil and badly be cause he seeks the denial of good and the denial of God, and he prays God to be denied to him.

  8. (8) In those men who do not seek after wealth, or honors, or utility, or interior devotion, or sanctity or reward, or the kingdom of heaven, but renounce all these things even that which is theirs, God is honored.

  9. (9) Recently I have considered whether I would wish to receive or to wish for anything from God; I wish to deliberate exceedingly well about this, because when I was receiving from God, then I was under Him or below Him, as a servant or slave, and He [was] as a master in giving, and thus we ought not to be in eternal life.

  10. (10) We are transformed entirely in God, and we are changed into Him; in a similar manner as in the sacrament the bread is changed into the body of Christ; so I am changed into Him because He Himself makes me to be one with Him, not like (to Him); through the living God it is true that there is no distinction there.

  11. (11) Whatever God the Father gave to His only begotten Son in human nature, all this He has given to me; here I except nothing, neither union, nor sanctity, but He has given all to me as to Himself.

  12. (12) Whatever Sacred Scripture says about Christ, all this also is verified with respect to every good and divine man.

  13. (13) Whatever is proper to divine nature, all this is proper to the just and divine man; because of this that man operates whatever God operates, and together with God he created heaven and earth, and he is the generator of the eternal Word, and God without such a man does not know how to do anything.

  14. (14) A good man ought so to conform his will to the divine will that he himself wishes whatever God wishes; because God wishes me to have sinned in some way, I would not wish that I had not committed sins, and this is true repentance.

  15. (15) If man had committed a thousand mortal sins, if such a man were rightly disposed, he ought not to wish that he had not committed them.

Condemned as "evil-sounding, rash, and suspected of heresy":

  1. (16) God properly does not prescribe an exterior act.

  2. (17) An exterior act is not properly good or divine, neither does God properly operate it or produce it.

  3. (18) We bring forth the fruit not of exterior actions which do not make us good, but of interior actions which the Father abiding in us does and operates.

  4. (19) God loves souls, not works outside.

  5. (20) A good man is the only begotten Son of God.

  6. (21) A noble man is that only begotten Son of God whom the Father has begotten from eternity.

  7. (22) The Father begot me His son and the same Son. Whatever God does, this is one; because of this He Himself begot me His Son without any distinction.

  8. (23) God is one in all ways and according to every reason, so that in Himself He cannot find any multitude in intellect or outside intellect; for he who sees two, or sees a distinction, does not see God, for God is one beyond the above number, neither is He counted one [read: number I with anyone. It follows, therefore, that no distinction can exist or be understood in God Himself.

  9. (24) Every distinction is foreign to God, either in nature or in person; it is proved that nature itself is one and this oneness, and any person is one and the oneness which is nature.

  10. (25) When it is said: "Simon, do you love me more than these?" [John 21:15 f.], the sense is: That is, more than those and indeed well but not perfectly. For in the first and the second and more and less there is both a degree and a rank; in oneness, however, there is no degree nor rank. Therefore, he who loves God more than his neighbor, (loves) indeed well but not yet perfectly.

  11. (26) All creatures are one pure nothing; I do not say that they are something ordinary or anything, but that they are one pure nothing.

    In addition there is an objection against the above said Eckhart, because he preached two other articles under these words:

Condemned as heretical:

  1. (1) Something is in the soul which is uncreated and incapable of creation; if the entire soul were such, it would be uncreated and incapable of creation, and this is the intellect.

  2. (2) That God is not good nor better nor best; so I speak badly whenever I call God good, as if I should call white black.

Pope John XXII's final statement:

  1. . . . We condemn and expressly disapprove the first fifteen articles and also the two last ones as "heretical," but the eleven others already mentioned as "evil-sounding, rash, and suspected of heresy," and no less any books or works of this Eckhart containing the above mentioned articles or any one of them.
  • perfect! This answer my question!
    – Grasper
    Aug 25, 2016 at 12:30

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